THE WHOLE-HEARTED LEADER
PILLAR 3: WHOLENESS OF HEART
Developing a Healthy, Permeable Filter
To achieve wholeness of heart, the three parts of our heart need to connect to Jesus and then synchronize with each other. Jesus rebuilds what was broken through lack of early attachment as infants or through trauma that occurred at various points in our lives. An important part of our heart is Guardian, who stands between the other two parts – Function and Emotion – and ensures we have healthy boundaries.
When we are emotionally healthy, our Function and our Emotion work together in beautiful synchrony, as we allow Jesus to heal us and work in and through us. However, our Guardian, the gatekeeper of our heart, has significant challenges. Sometimes Guardian under-protects, so we have no filter. More often, Guardian overprotects, setting up protective defense mechanisms.
What are Guardian’s challenges?
Guardian works to protect us from having to relive past trauma and painful emotions by locking it up in the Emotion part of our heart, so it doesn’t interfere with Function. But that can interfere with intimacy. Remember that definition of intimacy – “into me you see?” To achieve intimacy, I need to take my Guardian or my shield and open up my heart to let you in, which makes me really vulnerable.
But if I stay exposed and unprotected, that’s not good either. We don’t want to be completely open – we need Guardian to protect our Emotion. We need that gatekeeper part of us. But sometimes Guardian does its job too well, shutting us off from Emotion, from other people, and even from God.
What does Guardian need to do?
Here’s the healthy part. We need to have Guardian partner with Jesus to become that screen – that filtering process. When Guardian is connected with Jesus, we are able to filter lies from truth. We’re able to take every thought captive. If we’re able to help our Guardian connect with the Lord, then we’re going to be able to filter better. And we’ll be able to guard our emotional part of our heart better.
Why do we need a filter?
As children, we don’t have boundaries. Small children think they’re the center of the universe. Toddlers think it’s all about them, and there’s no boundaries to keep from getting hurt. If you tell a child you love them and think they’re amazing, they are going to eat it up. But one word of correction, one word of rebuke, and their spirit gets crushed, and they cry. Why? Because it goes right in. There’s rarely a filter.
Somewhere around the age 6,7,8,9, we start to discover that the world’s not so nice and people aren’t all so nice, and the kids on the playground aren’t always so nice, so here comes Guardian. Right? And Guardian looks at potential hurts and goes, “Whoa! You’re not so great. Let me keep you at a distance!” Guardian becomes a shield to protect our heart. Guardian becomes a wall we put up. Or a mask to hide behind.
What happens when Guardian is over-protective?
When we’re in a relationship, we cannot connect to people when we’re behind that mask. I can’t have a relationship with you if I’m behind a wall all the time. So, we need this part of us to be permeable. We need to have a Guardian, but Guardian needs to filter out the bad and let in the good, like a screen on the window filters out the bugs and lets in the breeze.
If Guardian is a wall or a shield or a mask, this disconnects us from people. Our heart – the Emotion part of our heart – is not able to connect to another person’s Emotion. So, we tend to do this when we’re trying to connect with someone else: “Are you okay?” “Are you in a good mood today?” “No?” “Are you trustworthy?” “No?”
It’s like we play peek-a-boo, trying to figure out if you’re going to be a good friend or not a good friend. And if you’re somebody I can trust with the Emotion of my heart. Can I be vulnerable with you, or not? This is what we tend to do. And every time we do this, we make ourselves vulnerable if we don’t have that filter – that truth filter.
What is a healthy filter?
And so, we need to have Guardian partner with the Lord to filter. And the biggest filter is discerning lies from truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). So, we need that Guardian part of our heart to help us filter. Even when we’re emotionally healthy, Guardian will never go away, and we want to honor Guardian. We just want to make sure Guardian is able to help all of our parts come together.
When we are emotionally healthy, with wholeness of heart, Guardian enables us to have healthy boundaries, allowing appropriate information in and filtering out lies. But we need Guardian to switch from negative judgments to wise discernment, and this is why Guardian needs to be connected to the Lord.
For more information on the three parts of our heart – Function, Emotion, and Guardian – see HeartSync Ministries: http://www.heartsyncministries.org/
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